Update on Hearing Aid Insurance Coverage For Children in California
In a recent blog post, we talked about the need to fight to get children’s hearing aids covered by health insurance. We know so much about how important healthy hearing is to developing babies, so this cause is near and dear to our hearts.
What Happened To Assembly Bill 598?
California attempted to introduce Assembly Bill 598 (AB 598). The bill’s sole purpose was simply to make children’s hearing aids a requirement covered by insurance providers.
If Assembly Bill 598 had passed, California would have joined the other 25 states that have already introduced this as basic coverage for minors.
The bill would have hugely impacted families with children who are deaf and hard of hearing. It costs approximately $1,000 to $3,000, per ear, to buy hearing aids. This doesn’t include any replacements the child will need over the next 18 years of their life.
Assemblyman Richard Bloom pushed for the hearing aid benefit through AB598, but the legislation was withdrawn late last year after receiving a commitment from the governor to include the policy in the following year’s budget.
The New Proposal
After asking a democratic assemblyman to withdraw his legislation, Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed a similar aim. He wants to fund hearing aids for children and teens through California's budget.
His budget proposal involves creating a new state program to provide hearing aids for people under the age of 18 and whose family earns low to middle income. The proposal will cover the cost of hearing aids if their existing insurance doesn’t cover them already.
The governor’s plan will cost an estimated $10 million from the state general fund each year, according to Newsom's Finance Director Keely Bosler.
The proposal will provide benefits for families that earn up to 600% of federal poverty:
- $127,980 for a family of three
- $154,500 for a family of four
If families are enrolled in high-deductible health insurance plans that cover hearing-aids, the program might also help with offset coverage costs as these insurance plans have large cost-sharing requirements.
The proposal won’t be available until July 2021, and it does not apply to Medi-Cal, which already covers the hearing aid benefit.
Want To Learn More?
CCHAT’s services help parents get hearing aids for their children at no cost. Get in contact with us today if you’d like to get a tour of our facilities and receive more info.